Before trashing your unused old phone, have you considered finding a new use for it? This article provides you with ways on how you can make your old devices useful rather than leaving it in a drawer to collect dust or throwing it away and letting it sit in a landfill.
Do you have old and/or broken mobile phones that are collecting dust in your drawer? Are they still functional? You have a new smartphone on hand, are you planning on throwing those old phones in the trash?
If your old devices can still be used despite being an older model or having a shattered or cracked screen, you shouldn't throw them out. Your old mobile phones might just end up in some landfill and thus, will pollute the environment.
Your smartphones are mostly full of toxins or harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, among others. If these materials are disposed irresponsibly, they would leak into the environment and pollute the air, water, and soil. This will lead to several health hazards that you really don’t want to happen.
Another thing about how throwing your old phone can pose a danger is the fact that lithium-ion batteries may explode. Believe it or not, damaged lithium-ion batteries explode. According to a report by USA Today, 65 percent of fires at waste facilities in California in 2017 were caused by lithium-ion batteries.
So what can you do with your old phones?
What are the things you can do to your old and/or broken phone?
There are several things you can do to your old phones that can benefit you and at the same will not do harm to the environment. Here's what to do with old broken cell phones:
Repurpose it. If your smartphone is an older model, you can do some kind of project with it. Your old mobile devices might be outdated, you can still find a new use for them. You can make it into a media player while you are on a drive or you can transform it to a smart surveillance. If you have a creative mind and a DIY attitude, the possibilities on how to repurpose your old phones is endless.
Activate it. Is your old mobile phone still working? Rather than letting it gather dust in your drawer, why not activate it for yourself or for someone in your family? Its not a bad idea to keep a spare,unactivated phone on hand as a backup in case something happens to your main device.
Donating it to charity. If it can still be used, you should consider donating your old smartphone to a charity. There are programs like the Cell Phones for Soldiers and National Coalition Against Domestic Violence that will find your old working phone a new home. Also check your local shelters to see if they would like to take your old phone off your hands.
Sell or trade it. You can actually sell or trade your old phone to Glyde, Gazelle, or with one of the other used device middleman services. For example, you can get cash for selling your old phone to Gazelle. They will let you know how much it is worth and if you accept their offer, they will send you a shipping label and even pay for the shipping. In some retailers that accept old devices, the phones you sold or traded in go through a repair and inspection process to turn it into refurbished smartphones that are in perfect working order.If you choose to take on the work yourself and sell it to eBay or Craigslist, you will get to keep all of the proceeds of the sale instead of a cut.
Recycle it. If your old mobile phone is broken beyond repair or completely obsolete, you will have to dispose of it. However, as previously mentioned, you shouldn't throw it away in the trash but rather, you should find a recycling center that accepts electronic devices. More mobile phone manufacturers are now offering take-back recycling. However, your better bet would likely be to recycle your old phone through the plan provider than the manufacturer.
How to repurpose your old phone?
If you opt to hack, modify or use your old phone in a project, here are some ways you can make use of your device.
Alarm clock. You can turn your old mobile device into a bedside companion that can help you all asleep or wake you up for school or work. What you should do is to download an app to your phone that can help guide you into a deep sleep and gently wake you up in the morning. Since you will not be utilizing it for other purposes like the way you use your main phone, you can leave your old phone turn alarm clock on your bedside to recharge.
Smart surveillance or home security camera. Thinking of turning your old mobile phone as a home security camera? Sounds crazy, right? However, with the use of the built-in camera and a WiFi connection, you can turn your old device into a security system. You can mount the device in your house for added security. All you need is your phone, WiFi connection, charging cables, a mobile security app. There are apps on the market that allow motion alerts, live streaming, and cloud storage.
Baby monitor. Believe it or not, your old phone can actually make a great baby monitor, especially when you are out traveling and you want to check in with your baby. You can download a baby monitor app which you can use to send you an alert if your baby starts making noise. You can also use your phone to soothe your baby back to sleep by talking to them.
Music player. Use your old mobile phone as a separate music player. You can also turn it into a radio you can use to stream music from all across the country.
Wireless webcam. If you don't have a webcam for your desktop computer or the built-in camera on your laptop is not working, you can turn your old smartphone into a webcam. There is free software you can download which can let you turn your mobile phone into a webcam for your computer.
E-book reader. Are you a fan of novels? Do you love books and comics but you don't want to buy an ebook reader? You can use your old phone. Just download an ebook reader app of choice and sync up your purchases, free ebooks, and titles borrowed from the library.
How to turn your old phone into a cool project
Regardless of what brand your old mobile phones are, whether it’s an Android or an iPhone, you will find that each of those devices have some sophisticated circuitry inside. While your devices might be obsolete you can still find uses for old cell phone parts. You just need to get creative and come up with cool projects for it. Here are some:
Create an untraceable phone. The threat of a hacker having access to your personal information looms nowadays. If you have an extra mobile phone, you can turn it into a "ghost phone" or a burner phone which will be completely untraceable. Having a ghost phone can be beneficial. One of which is its ability to keep your identity secure on online dating sites or if you are selling something on Craigslist. This device is handy as you can use it anytime you want to take a data-sensitive online action. It will keep you more secure than your everyday phone. Here's how you can turn your old device into a burner phone:
First, install one of the apps that provide a burner phone number.
Next, add a secure VPN service that encrypts all data going out of your phone.
You create a new Google or Apple account from the phone. Remember, don't sign in with your existing account on the app stores. Likewise, create new accounts for any app you want to use.
Keep in mind that you shouldn't buy any app or service as online transactions leave a money trail.
Turn it into a wallet or piggy bank. Believe it or not, you can actually turn your old broken mobile phone into a wallet or piggy bank. However, you should keep in mind that this project requires you to take apart the old device and remove all the parts inside. You will only need the outer case and nothing else.
Contribute to science. You can actually use your old phone for science for a good cause. You can donate your old smartphone to the HTC Power To Give. They use your phone to connect to the University of California, Berkeley's BIONC app. And then, they will tap on your mobile device's unused computing power. They will utilize it for crowdsourced science, making your old phone a significant help for a good cause. You can also help researchers in Australia fight cancer by utilizing the DreamLab app, or if you want to help detect possible earthquakes, you can use the MyShake app.